I’ve just become a GeneaBlogger!!!! and I’m really excited because it’s opened up a whole new world of blogging inspiration for me. 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) designed as an opportunity to record memories and insights from our lifetimes and share them with our future descendants.
I think it’s a really interesting concept, so I’m starting this week with the topic of Home.
I grew up in the house my father built. And my parents still live there today. It was a smallish sort of house situated on a large, beautiful piece of land on a winding, country road in a small New England town. (It’s bustling suburbia now, but when I was young it seemed like the country.)
The property had apples trees, a babbling brook, and acres of woodland and fields where my sisters and I would play and have imagined adventures all summer long.
The really special thing about my childhood home was that it had originally been part of a 32 acre homestead purchased by my Grandparents in the very early days of their marriage in the 1930s. The house had been built 100 years earlier, around 1833, and my Grandfather, being an excellent carpenter, added onto it bit by bit, expanding it as the family grew.
As each of their four children reached adulthood and married, my Grandparents gave them a four acre piece of the property, and built them a house. (In our case, with Dad’s help.) And so, by the 1960s, the Varrieur Homestead boasted four additional homes, built around my Grandparent’s house – the heart of the homestead – from which they were able to remain physically close to their four children and could watch their eleven grandchildren grow up under foot.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were centered in the warmth of my Grandparent’s living room and enormous kitchen table. The youngest of the cousins sat at the “kids table,” and it was quite a rite of passage to reach the age when you were finally old enough to be able to sit with the Grown Ups.
Growing up under the nurturing umbrella of my paternal Grandparents,Aunts, and Uncles, in immediate proximity to my paternal cousins, was an amazing experience, and one which I totally took for granted. In my childhood innocence, I assumed it was how everyone grew up. Feeling that familial love all those years helped shaped me, and it’s an experience I wish everyone could know.
Lives evolve and times change. My Grandparents have passed away, and except for my parents and Uncle Peter, the rest of the family has moved on. Much to everyone’s delight, Aunty Mary has moved into my Grandparent’s house. She and Uncle Steve have added on and made it their own, but the memories of Grampie and Grammie and our times together there are still very real and I feel their presence whenever I’m there.